Oct 2014: Elysium

The key stages of the Elysium flight

Elysium is the second MARSBalloon flight of 2014, named after the second largest volcanic region on Mars, and launched on Sunday 26th October at noon.

The mission had 55 Mars science experiments on board from 33 UK primary and secondary schools. They were flown up in a specially built tray to 31,240m in altitude where the conditions of pressure, temperature and radiation are nearly identical to the surface of Mars. At maximum altitude the balloon burst and the tray and experiments descended by parachute to the ground for a landing in Bramshill Forest.

This launch follows a previous MARSBalloon mission, named Tharsis after another volcanic region of Mars, which successfully flew in June 2014 with 80 experiments from 30 schools.

The experiments recovered from Elysium will be returned to the students who made them. They will be encouraged to write up their scientific results for publishing on the project website.

UK secondary school teachers interested in entering their class or club onto flights planned for 2015 should register for free.

Flight videos

To see what happened on the ground watch the following video:

To see what happened in the air watch the following video:

Images from the flight

More pictures of the flight can be found on the MARSBalloon facebook page.

Complete list of experiments:

For all experiments, students were asked to consider items which they thought would be affected by the Martian environment, make a hypothesis of what they think will happen and outline how they would test this upon return of the experiments. 

Flegg High School [FHS]: Cucumber seeds and dried yeast for future Mars explorers to make cucumber sandwiches;

Ripley Academy [MHS]; Cress seeds and jelly babies;

King Edward VI Grammar School [KEG]: A test of leaded and unleaded solder;

The Market Bosworth School [MBS]: Memory sticks, polymers/adhesives and ferrite;

Horbury Academy [HBA]: Batteries under load (bulb and LED, data logged), magnesium and quails eggs;

Beaumont Collegiate Academy [BCA]: Onion, leaves and loop bands;

Selwood Academy [SWA]: USB drive, Sugar, Battery, stickytape, Antibacterial gel. Blutack;

Hanham Woods Academy [HHS]: Uncooked quails egg, marshmallows, custard and a guitar string;

Stirling High School [STR]: USB drives, various insulation types;

Abbeywood Community School [ACC]: Protection test of different grades of sunscreen;

Withernsea High School [WHS]: Temperature probe (data logged), petals, GPS/SMS locator, custard and lava rocks

Ridgeway High School [RHS]: Seeds;

Idsall School [IDS]: Ultraviolet sensor (data logged);

Wildern School [WLD]: Toothpaste;

Churchdown School Academy [CSA]; Unpopped corn, magnets and saturated salt solution;

Hobart High School [HHI]: Contact lenses, smarties and a leaf;

Kingswood Academy [KWA]: A watch (synchronised with a control on the ground);

Beverly High School [BHS]: A photograph, tooth and paper;

Oriel High School [OHS]: Cultures of Staphlycoccus Albus (bacteria found on human skin);

Malet Lambert School [MLS]: Light bulb, memory stick, marshmallows, Malteasers, plotting compass, paper with ink, cress and a flying saucer;

Duffryn Junior School [DJS]: Teabag, eraser and Blutak;

Thomas Keble Secondary School [TKS]: Test of the magnetism of a compass, quails egg and a Mars bar;

Bramhall High School [BRM]: Blutak and cress seeds;

Norwich School [NOR] / Science Discovery club [SDC]: Marshmallow and seeds in soil;

North Walsham High School [NWH]: Lego;

Burgess Hill School for Girls [BUR/BURT/BURR]: Human bacteria, batteries, spring constant of an elastic band;

Belmont Academy [BEL]: Sim card;

Sturminster Newton High School: Gummy bears (test for sugar, protein, moisture and calorie levels);

Wellington School, Timperly [WLL]: Plant growth;

North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College [NSE]: X-Ray photographic films with several levels of shielding;

Holy Trinity School Crawly [HTS]: Seeds;

Fernhill School & Language College [FER]: (Theme of communication) Sim card, coloured pencils, hearing aid batteries, (theme of living) sweets, PVA glue, seeds, Lego, planted grass/seeds, a peice of traditional buddhist horn.


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